Rub­bish is left strewn around Glen­malure

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

THE good weather has seen a jump in peo­ple en­joy­ing the great out­doors but in­con­sid­er­ate campers are spoil­ing the stun­ning Glen­malure Val­ley by leav­ing be­hind rub­bish and aban­doned camp­ing sites after they de­part.

The pro­longed warm weather has re­sulted in a huge num­ber of vis­i­tors camp­ing in Glen­malure, but some campers are leav­ing with­out both­er­ing to clean-up after them­selves, prompt­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity to re­mind vis­i­tors of the im­por­tance of the nat­u­ral and built her­itage of the unique val­ley.

It’s prov­ing par­tic­u­larly frus­trat­ing for the Glen­malure Pure Mile Group, who won Best Pure Mile in 2015 and 2016 and last year were pre­sented with a spe­cial ‘Win­ning Back the Val­ley’ award.

Ian Davis, Project Man­ager of Pure, sym­pa­thises with the group con­sid­er­ing all the hard work they have put into keep­ing the val­ley tidy and lit­ter-free.

‘Our very first clean-up in 2015 re­sulted in the re­moval of over six tonnes of il­le­gal dump­ing from the val­ley,’ said Mr Davis. ‘Mem­bers of the lo­cal Pure group met with campers and ex­plained to them why it is so im­por­tant to keep the val­ley clean and the campers proved to be very ac­com­mo­dat­ing.

‘They started ed­u­cat­ing the campers and it made a huge dif­fer­ence.

‘I use Glen­malure as a case study of just what sort of progress can be made when peo­ple take pride in their area and have a hands-on ap­proach. That’s why it is so dis­ap­point­ing and frus­trat­ing to see a mi­nor­ity of vis­i­tors to the area un­der­min­ing all of this hard work.’

Re­cent clean-ups have re­moved aban­doned tents, bot­tles, cans, bar­be­cues, meat wrap­pers, nap­pies and even a child’s potty.

Last Tues­day, Pure were no­ti­fied of the need for a clean-up of Glen­malure and be­tween 40 to 50 bags of rub­bish were re­moved the fol­low­ing day. An in­crease in novice campers seems to be the main cause.

‘The great weather has brought a huge amount of peo­ple to the val­ley,’ ex­plained Mr Davis. ‘A lot of peo­ple are avoid­ing the beaches be­cause they are so busy and are go­ing camp­ing in­stead, A lot of th­ese peo­ple wouldn’t be fre­quent campers. They are leav­ing be­hind bar­be­cues, cool­ers and com­plete camp­ing sets. They ba­si­cally walk in, see the camp site, put their tent up and then leave the whole lot be­hind when they are leav­ing. You have com­pletely aban­doned camp sites where it looks like peo­ple have just dis­ap­peared.’

Vis­i­tors are also re­minded that there is cur­rently a red fire warn­ing and that no fires should be lit. A num­ber of fires have al­ready oc­curred, and it is ev­i­dent from pho­tos of the re­cent clean-up that fires were lit at a num­ber of sites.

‘It is ex­tremely dan­ger­ous to set a fire in con­di­tions like this. The grass is al­ready all scorched. You could throw a match on the ground and the while val­ley could go. Surely the last thing peo­ple want is to see the val­ley gone,’ said Ian.

Peter McGloin from Coillte also pointed out: ‘We con­tinue to work with the Pure Project and all of the Glen­malure Pure Mile Group and are de­ter­mined to com­bat all types of il­le­gal dump­ing in this up­land area.’

Pure con­tinue to en­gage with a num­ber of spe­cial in­ter­est groups and busi­nesses through their Clean-up the Up­lands cam­paign. A re­cent clean-up of the Lacken Sor­rel Road in west Wick­low by the Reser­voir Cogs Cy­cling Club in Bless­ing­ton saw vol­un­teers spend­ing their Satur­day lit­ter pick­ing the en­tire road, re­sult­ing in the re­moval of a large num­ber of bags of rub­bish, in­clud­ing, a vac­uum cleaner, paint pots, elec­tric cable and chip­board.

Vagabond Tours Ltd have adopted the mag­nif­i­cent val­ley floor of Knock­ree in the Glen­cree Val­ley, a pop­u­lar camp­ing des­ti­na­tion, which un­for­tu­nately is also prone to reg­u­lar lit­ter­ing by ir­re­spon­si­ble vis­i­tors and campers. The group or­gan­ised a num­ber of clean-ups to tackle the prob­lem.

Rub­bish and camp fires left aban­doned at the Glen­malure Val­ley.

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